ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

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bound
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby bound » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:23 pm

Nomo wrote:
Austinbound wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
thisiswater wrote:Goal(s): Biglaw or corporate in-house

Regional Ties: Texas

School: SMU PT with 17k a year. Good standing so 2.0 required. Would mean my total cost (without interest accumulation) would be right around 84k

Other pertinent information: I chose SMU PT because I currently am working in Dallas in a corporate legal department and I like my job/want to keep it. I make 65ish a year depending on bonuses so I would plan on paying some of that expense out of pocket, but I would still have loans.
I did apply places other than SMU but at this point it is definitely my first choice. I'm just worried it is too expensive.


Do not do this. Even with a biglaw salary, it takes a long time to pay back 84k.



I was told earlier in the thread that SMU at <$100K would be okay with texas ties/plans to work in Texas.


There's no absolutely right answer. Plug 84k at 7.5% interest in a loan calculator and see what you're payments would be on a 10, 15, and 20 year repayment schedule. Consider the full range of employment options you might have and the likelihood of each. Also consider the time you're going to lose trying to work and do law school (3 years of your life isn't nothing). Consider the money you're going to spend on school that you otherwise could be investing (maybe at 5% or so). Put all this in a chart. Agonize over it for a few days. Ask trusted friends what they think. Agonize a little longer and decide. Would I do SMU part-time if I already had a 65k part-time job? No. Because I'd probably come out of school making less than I made before. But, its really up to you - maybe you hate your current job and are willing to take a paycut to be a lawyer. Just do your research and do it well.



Thanks for the input. I am looking at around 80K for SMU with interest and COL, so when I saw the previous post about that being too much I had a mild freak out lol. I'm still weighing out all of my options at other schools as well but SMU is a top choice as I would like to practice in Dallas.

texas man
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby texas man » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:51 pm

Austinbound wrote:Thanks for the input. I am looking at around 80K for SMU with interest and COL, so when I saw the previous post about that being too much I had a mild freak out lol. I'm still weighing out all of my options at other schools as well but SMU is a top choice as I would like to practice in Dallas.


With around $80K, I think you should be okay. But, if working (thisiswater), don't let the job get in the way of law school. A full-time job would have inhibited my ability to do well and all that followed.

zanardin
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby zanardin » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:20 pm

Goals: public interest law (legal services, non-profit, specificslly immigration or housing, most likely not government)

Regional Ties: I've worked in NYC and Boston, grew up in Northern California and would like to eventually practice in CA or west coast.

Top Choice: University of Washington, total cost of attendance after a scholly: $90k

Other considerations: BC (66k total) ND ($90k total) Lewis & Clark (30k total) UC Davis (haven't gotten scholarship info yet)

Nomo
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby Nomo » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:28 pm

zanardin wrote:Goals: public interest law (legal services, non-profit, specificslly immigration or housing, most likely not government)

Regional Ties: I've worked in NYC and Boston, grew up in Northern California and would like to eventually practice in CA or west coast.

Top Choice: University of Washington, total cost of attendance after a scholly: $90k

Other considerations: BC (66k total) ND ($90k total) Lewis & Clark (30k total) UC Davis (haven't gotten scholarship info yet)


Starting salaries at legal services orgs are around 40-45k . . . you'll never make more than 70k. Keep that debt low. I vote Lewis and Clark, but its not a slam dunk. A lot of Lewis and Clark kids are having a hard time finding any employment at all. You could try to negotiate with WA using your BC scholarship.

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JCougar
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby JCougar » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:29 pm

zanardin wrote:Goals: public interest law (legal services, non-profit, specificslly immigration or housing, most likely not government)

Regional Ties: I've worked in NYC and Boston, grew up in Northern California and would like to eventually practice in CA or west coast.

Top Choice: University of Washington, total cost of attendance after a scholly: $90k

Other considerations: BC (66k total) ND ($90k total) Lewis & Clark (30k total) UC Davis (haven't gotten scholarship info yet)


If you want to practice on the West Coast, you should really go to school on the West Coast. The UW offer doesn't sound too bad actually. If you can get a bigger scholarship from Hastings/Davis, that might be the way to go. For what you want to do, I think minimizing debt would be the smart thing.

Jobs in Cali and Oregon are hard to come by, though, so if you're open to practicing in Washington, I would look into it.

nouseforaname123
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby nouseforaname123 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:55 pm

thisiswater wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
thisiswater wrote:Goal(s): Biglaw or corporate in-house

Regional Ties: Texas

School: SMU PT with 17k a year. Good standing so 2.0 required. Would mean my total cost (without interest accumulation) would be right around 84k

Other pertinent information: I chose SMU PT because I currently am working in Dallas in a corporate legal department and I like my job/want to keep it. I make 65ish a year depending on bonuses so I would plan on paying some of that expense out of pocket, but I would still have loans.
I did apply places other than SMU but at this point it is definitely my first choice. I'm just worried it is too expensive.


Do not do this. Even with a biglaw salary, it takes a long time to pay back 84k.


I just did some budgets and I think 10 out of pocket per year is reasonable for me so I would end up under 50 in debt. Sorry, I moved too quickly on posting in here.


I did exactly what you're trying to accomplish. I worked FT, avoided debt and landed biglaw. Posting on a mobile device, so here are some random thoughts, in light of your stated goals.

1. The (vast?) majority of people who enter the program while working end up quitting their jobs very early on (within the first two years).

2. The first two years are an absolute grind. You must be efficient and focused both at school and at work. Each semester runs about 17 weeks, and you have to be capable of ignoring everything other than work, school and immediate family. Everybody is different, and I believe I was pretty efficient at school and work, but it was still a massive grind. Be honest with yourself: you know if you're the kind of person that can truly grind.

3. If you're successful at positioning yourself for biglaw, it won't get easier. While the last two years are easier from an academic perspective, you'll join law review and that will take up any slack you gain from easier classes.

4. If you snag a summer associate position (must have for biglaw), you may have to quit your job for the last year of school. Most employers are not keen on letting employees take a whole summer off to go find another job. This changes the decision-making process for a working student in two ways.

First, budget accordingly.

Second, you have a decent job with decent pay. To give that up, you don't need just any biglaw summer associate position. You need summer associate position from a firm that historically hires a high percentage of its summer associates. You really aren't just aiming for biglaw, you're aiming for the most competitive firms. For me, being a summer associate was a net loss of a little over $40k because of income I didn't earn during my last school year. I was able to live with that knowing that both of my summer firms had offer rates over 95%. I'm not sure I would have been willing to quit my job for a firm with a 50% offer rate.

5. Budget higher than expected COL. If you're single or your SO isn't willing to pick up all the mundane house chores, you should be spending money on things like a laundry service, house cleaning etc.... You shouldn't waste valuable time doing those things.

6. If you navigate a PT program successfully, there is a big prize and curse waiting for you at the end. Prize: no debt and biglaw pay. Curse: the billable hour. If things don't work out for you, you wasted four years, set yourself back at work, and your immediate earnings potential won't be much better than where you're at right now.

Most important advice I can give you: try to push that debt load as low as possible. Quit after the first year if you aren't in the top 25% or if you haven't found an area of law that you're absolutely passionate about.

zanardin
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby zanardin » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:57 pm

Thanks for your input!

UW is definitely my first choice, I am just worried about the cost. I already sent an email to the asst dean trying to negotiate using my BC, ND, L&C, Minnesota, and U of Colorado scholarships and he basically said UW doesn't use other scholarships to compare and there is very limited funding, not many students receive any merit aid, etc but that if students with merit aid choice not to attend they do give that out to students and I will be considered at that time..so not too promising. And I do realize PI jobs do not pay that well at all which is why I want to minimize debt. And, UW LRAP is not that great.

I will see what I can get from UC Davis, Lewis and Clark seems too risky.

Do you think going to BC or ND will give me any chance of finding a job on the west coast?

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thisiswater
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby thisiswater » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:35 am

nouseforaname123 wrote:
thisiswater wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
thisiswater wrote:Goal(s): Biglaw or corporate in-house

Regional Ties: Texas

School: SMU PT with 17k a year. Good standing so 2.0 required. Would mean my total cost (without interest accumulation) would be right around 84k

Other pertinent information: I chose SMU PT because I currently am working in Dallas in a corporate legal department and I like my job/want to keep it. I make 65ish a year depending on bonuses so I would plan on paying some of that expense out of pocket, but I would still have loans.
I did apply places other than SMU but at this point it is definitely my first choice. I'm just worried it is too expensive.


Do not do this. Even with a biglaw salary, it takes a long time to pay back 84k.


I just did some budgets and I think 10 out of pocket per year is reasonable for me so I would end up under 50 in debt. Sorry, I moved too quickly on posting in here.


I did exactly what you're trying to accomplish. I worked FT, avoided debt and landed biglaw. Posting on a mobile device, so here are some random thoughts, in light of your stated goals.

1. The (vast?) majority of people who enter the program while working end up quitting their jobs very early on (within the first two years).

2. The first two years are an absolute grind. You must be efficient and focused both at school and at work. Each semester runs about 17 weeks, and you have to be capable of ignoring everything other than work, school and immediate family. Everybody is different, and I believe I was pretty efficient at school and work, but it was still a massive grind. Be honest with yourself: you know if you're the kind of person that can truly grind.

3. If you're successful at positioning yourself for biglaw, it won't get easier. While the last two years are easier from an academic perspective, you'll join law review and that will take up any slack you gain from easier classes.

4. If you snag a summer associate position (must have for biglaw), you may have to quit your job for the last year of school. Most employers are not keen on letting employees take a whole summer off to go find another job. This changes the decision-making process for a working student in two ways.

First, budget accordingly.

Second, you have a decent job with decent pay. To give that up, you don't need just any biglaw summer associate position. You need summer associate position from a firm that historically hires a high percentage of its summer associates. You really aren't just aiming for biglaw, you're aiming for the most competitive firms. For me, being a summer associate was a net loss of a little over $40k because of income I didn't earn during my last school year. I was able to live with that knowing that both of my summer firms had offer rates over 95%. I'm not sure I would have been willing to quit my job for a firm with a 50% offer rate.

5. Budget higher than expected COL. If you're single or your SO isn't willing to pick up all the mundane house chores, you should be spending money on things like a laundry service, house cleaning etc.... You shouldn't waste valuable time doing those things.

6. If you navigate a PT program successfully, there is a big prize and curse waiting for you at the end. Prize: no debt and biglaw pay. Curse: the billable hour. If things don't work out for you, you wasted four years, set yourself back at work, and your immediate earnings potential won't be much better than where you're at right now.

Most important advice I can give you: try to push that debt load as low as possible. Quit after the first year if you aren't in the top 25% or if you haven't found an area of law that you're absolutely passionate about.


Thanks for this. I am definitely listening.

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lawschool22
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby lawschool22 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:13 pm

Thanks for the help, this is a great thread. These scholarships are pre-negotiation.

    -Schools I am considering: NYU, Duke, Northwestern

    -Scholarship awards: NYU ($25k), Duke ($72k), Northwestern ($90k)

    -Total debt at repayment: NYU ($223k), Duke ($149k), NU ($130k)

    -How you will be financing your COA: Entirely through loans. These COA's already take into account any other sources of income.

    -Where you are from and where you want to work: From the Midwest, but my primary goal is DC. I would take NYC and Chicago as well.

    -Your general career goals: DC biglaw (litigation) immediately after graduation, with the hope of moving into federal government after a few years in biglaw (3-5 years probably, depending on available opportunities).

    -Your LSAT/GPA numbers: 173/3.6

    -How many times you have taken the LSAT: Once

    -Other info: Still waiting on Harvard (had JS1), Columbia, and Cornell. Rejected at SLS. Didn't apply to Y or B. In at GULC but no offer as of yet. WL'd at all other t14. Have pretty decent WE.

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rpupkin
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:12 pm

lawschool22 wrote:Thanks for the help, this is a great thread. These scholarships are pre-negotiation.

    -Schools I am considering: NYU, Duke, Northwestern

    -Scholarship awards: NYU ($25k), Duke ($72k), Northwestern ($90k)

    -Total debt at repayment: NYU ($223k), Duke ($149k), NU ($130k)

    -How you will be financing your COA: Entirely through loans. These COA's already take into account any other sources of income.

    -Where you are from and where you want to work: From the Midwest, but my primary goal is DC. I would take NYC and Chicago as well.

    -Your general career goals: DC biglaw (litigation) immediately after graduation, with the hope of moving into federal government after a few years in biglaw (3-5 years probably, depending on available opportunities).

    -Your LSAT/GPA numbers: 173/3.6

    -How many times you have taken the LSAT: Once

    -Other info: Still waiting on Harvard (had JS1), Columbia, and Cornell. Rejected at SLS. Didn't apply to Y or B. In at GULC but no offer as of yet. WL'd at all other t14. Have pretty decent WE.


Given that your preferred market is DC, and considering the fact that Duke is $75K cheaper than NYU, I think Duke is probably the best choice for you. But be aware that getting DC lit out of Duke is harder than getting Chicago lit out of Northwestern.

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bugsy33
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby bugsy33 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:09 pm

Goals: Practice Criminal Law

This is the only type of law I'm interested in. I don't care which specific area of criminal law, I'll take it. I would also like to get into politics down the road.

Ties: Heavy ties in Michigan, but also worked in Chicago for a year as a Private Eye. Would like to work in the Midwest or South

UIUC at 18k/yr guaranteed -135k total debt
Penn State at 10k/yr top 80% - 100k total debt
Tennessee at 13k/yr guaranteed 115k total debt

15k in UG loans

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lawschool22
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby lawschool22 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:11 pm

rpupkin wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Thanks for the help, this is a great thread. These scholarships are pre-negotiation.

    -Schools I am considering: NYU, Duke, Northwestern

    -Scholarship awards: NYU ($25k), Duke ($72k), Northwestern ($90k)

    -Total debt at repayment: NYU ($223k), Duke ($149k), NU ($130k)

    -How you will be financing your COA: Entirely through loans. These COA's already take into account any other sources of income.

    -Where you are from and where you want to work: From the Midwest, but my primary goal is DC. I would take NYC and Chicago as well.

    -Your general career goals: DC biglaw (litigation) immediately after graduation, with the hope of moving into federal government after a few years in biglaw (3-5 years probably, depending on available opportunities).

    -Your LSAT/GPA numbers: 173/3.6

    -How many times you have taken the LSAT: Once

    -Other info: Still waiting on Harvard (had JS1), Columbia, and Cornell. Rejected at SLS. Didn't apply to Y or B. In at GULC but no offer as of yet. WL'd at all other t14. Have pretty decent WE.


Given that your preferred market is DC, and considering the fact that Duke is $75K cheaper than NYU, I think Duke is probably the best choice for you. But be aware that getting DC lit out of Duke is harder than getting Chicago lit out of Northwestern.


Interesting last point. Thanks.

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deadpanic
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby deadpanic » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:26 pm

bugsy33 wrote:Goals: Practice Criminal Law

This is the only type of law I'm interested in. I don't care which specific area of criminal law, I'll take it. I would also like to get into politics down the road.

Ties: Heavy ties in Michigan, but also worked in Chicago for a year as a Private Eye. Would like to work in the Midwest or South

UIUC at 18k/yr guaranteed -135k total debt
Penn State at 10k/yr top 80% - 100k total debt
Tennessee at 13k/yr guaranteed 115k total debt

15k in UG loans


Man. Don't take this personally, but you have to adjust your goals. Getting into criminal law requires trying to join a DA/PD office, which are pretty competitive and take a little luck. Other law firms that do criminal law are small firms ranging from solos to about 10 attorneys and they rarely if ever hire grads straight out of law school. I would say try to go to UIUC but not at that price. More like 40-50k tops.

All of those schools at that price tag are a no-go for any type of law period.

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JCougar
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby JCougar » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:01 am

Yeah, there's only a few ways to get into criminal law. Go to a T14 and do DOJ (good luck with all the budget cuts and finishing near the top of your class, at least above median, but probably more), go to a state flagship school with in-state tuition and a scholarship and finish in the top 15% and get State's AG (good luck with all the budget cuts), get a PD job (good luck with all the budget cuts), or go to law school somewhere for free and volunteer for no pay for 2 years at some legal assistance organization.

Private criminal defense firms very rarely hire new law grads. You need experience from somewhere. And there's hardly anywhere to get experience.

LSA2014
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby LSA2014 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:25 am

Nomo wrote:
There's no absolutely right answer. Plug 84k at 7.5% interest in a loan calculator and see what you're payments would be on a 10, 15, and 20 year repayment schedule.


This is great advice, but also consider that if you're under $20,000 per year you can borrow at 5.41%. If you can borrow money from family and stay all Federal, do it. AND that $20,000 only collects 1.8% while you're in school. Promise your family 3%, it's more than most retirement funds are yielding these days.

Consider the money you're going to spend on school that you otherwise could be investing (maybe at 5% or so)


Maybe if you're doing high risk investments like stocks. Even high risk corporate funds with 1% fees yield like 4%. Most "safe" long term instruments are barely breaking inflation right now. I suppose with a good combination of ETF's you could break 5%, but you can always go negative too.

OldEnoughToBeYourMom
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby OldEnoughToBeYourMom » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:29 pm

Long time lurker, first time poster.

Goals: PD/Legal Aid or other public service work. I would also be interested in clerking, and I recognize that it will be state courts or lower with this list of schools. I'm a K-JD, I know more about what I don't want to do (Corporate and Transactional) then exactly what I do want to do.

Regional Ties: Colorado, Pacific Northwest, SoCal. This is where I have strong ties. However, I really want to live on the East Coast. The ultimate goal is to be an employed attorney. I can be flexible on location if there is no chance, given I have no ties, that I will get any sort of job out east. But I've lived everywhere west of the Mississippi, I strongly desire to be on the east coast now.

Schools: This is my total 3 year cost for tuition, living expenses, fees, books, etc, including any accrued interest on loans and factoring in 3.5% increase per year of expenses.

Total indebtedness upon graduation:

CU-Boulder $40K , W&L $30K, W&M $40K, ND 75K, BU $90K, WUSTL $65K, Vandy $100K, UT-$70K, GULC - $160K, Cornell - $180K

I am still negotiating scholarships, but I don't anticipate any significant movement in the numbers.

I was leaning toward Cornell or GULC and utilizing PAYE/LRAP (or their version) until the possibility of a cap on PSLF was proposed by Obama. Then I began seriously considering W&M because it gets me to the east coast and minimizes my debt.

Shine your wisdom down upon me.

Galt2112
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby Galt2112 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:11 am

Goal(s): Flexible. I don't really know at this point. If I had to pick: Medium-BigFirm in Indianapolis.

Regional Ties: Indiana Bloomington is my Alma Mater and I've lived my whole life in Indiana.

School(s): IUB - ~80k, Vandy ~120-130, Cornell-No info yet, probably sticker. Michigan - No info yet, probably sticker, Penn - Sticker.

Other pertinent information: $7500 in UG loans. ~2 years work experience law firm in Bloomington, informal offer to keep that job through law school and possibly beyond if I attend IU. Personal relationship with Dean of Admissions at IU. No parent money.

About to start negotiating for scholarships today. First deadline is Indiana on April 1.

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worldtraveler
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:32 am

OldEnoughToBeYourMom wrote:Long time lurker, first time poster.

Goals: PD/Legal Aid or other public service work. I would also be interested in clerking, and I recognize that it will be state courts or lower with this list of schools. I'm a K-JD, I know more about what I don't want to do (Corporate and Transactional) then exactly what I do want to do.

Regional Ties: Colorado, Pacific Northwest, SoCal. This is where I have strong ties. However, I really want to live on the East Coast. The ultimate goal is to be an employed attorney. I can be flexible on location if there is no chance, given I have no ties, that I will get any sort of job out east. But I've lived everywhere west of the Mississippi, I strongly desire to be on the east coast now.

Schools: This is my total 3 year cost for tuition, living expenses, fees, books, etc, including any accrued interest on loans and factoring in 3.5% increase per year of expenses.

Total indebtedness upon graduation:

CU-Boulder $40K , W&L $30K, W&M $40K, ND 75K, BU $90K, WUSTL $65K, Vandy $100K, UT-$70K, GULC - $160K, Cornell - $180K

I am still negotiating scholarships, but I don't anticipate any significant movement in the numbers.

I was leaning toward Cornell or GULC and utilizing PAYE/LRAP (or their version) until the possibility of a cap on PSLF was proposed by Obama. Then I began seriously considering W&M because it gets me to the east coast and minimizes my debt.

Shine your wisdom down upon me.


I think William and Mary or William and Lee would be a good call for you if you want the east coast. All I know about them is that W&M has post grad fellowships, which is a great thing for PI gunners.

I would talk to both schools and see if they can put you in touch with grads in legal aid/PD jobs or current 2Ls and 3Ls and see what they have to say.

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thisiswater
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby thisiswater » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:41 am

nouseforaname123 wrote:
thisiswater wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
thisiswater wrote:Goal(s): Biglaw or corporate in-house

Regional Ties: Texas

School: SMU PT with 17k a year. Good standing so 2.0 required. Would mean my total cost (without interest accumulation) would be right around 84k

Other pertinent information: I chose SMU PT because I currently am working in Dallas in a corporate legal department and I like my job/want to keep it. I make 65ish a year depending on bonuses so I would plan on paying some of that expense out of pocket, but I would still have loans.
I did apply places other than SMU but at this point it is definitely my first choice. I'm just worried it is too expensive.


Do not do this. Even with a biglaw salary, it takes a long time to pay back 84k.


I just did some budgets and I think 10 out of pocket per year is reasonable for me so I would end up under 50 in debt. Sorry, I moved too quickly on posting in here.


I did exactly what you're trying to accomplish. I worked FT, avoided debt and landed biglaw. Posting on a mobile device, so here are some random thoughts, in light of your stated goals.

1. The (vast?) majority of people who enter the program while working end up quitting their jobs very early on (within the first two years).

2. The first two years are an absolute grind. You must be efficient and focused both at school and at work. Each semester runs about 17 weeks, and you have to be capable of ignoring everything other than work, school and immediate family. Everybody is different, and I believe I was pretty efficient at school and work, but it was still a massive grind. Be honest with yourself: you know if you're the kind of person that can truly grind.

3. If you're successful at positioning yourself for biglaw, it won't get easier. While the last two years are easier from an academic perspective, you'll join law review and that will take up any slack you gain from easier classes.

4. If you snag a summer associate position (must have for biglaw), you may have to quit your job for the last year of school. Most employers are not keen on letting employees take a whole summer off to go find another job. This changes the decision-making process for a working student in two ways.

First, budget accordingly.

Second, you have a decent job with decent pay. To give that up, you don't need just any biglaw summer associate position. You need summer associate position from a firm that historically hires a high percentage of its summer associates. You really aren't just aiming for biglaw, you're aiming for the most competitive firms. For me, being a summer associate was a net loss of a little over $40k because of income I didn't earn during my last school year. I was able to live with that knowing that both of my summer firms had offer rates over 95%. I'm not sure I would have been willing to quit my job for a firm with a 50% offer rate.

5. Budget higher than expected COL. If you're single or your SO isn't willing to pick up all the mundane house chores, you should be spending money on things like a laundry service, house cleaning etc.... You shouldn't waste valuable time doing those things.

6. If you navigate a PT program successfully, there is a big prize and curse waiting for you at the end. Prize: no debt and biglaw pay. Curse: the billable hour. If things don't work out for you, you wasted four years, set yourself back at work, and your immediate earnings potential won't be much better than where you're at right now.

Most important advice I can give you: try to push that debt load as low as possible. Quit after the first year if you aren't in the top 25% or if you haven't found an area of law that you're absolutely passionate about.


Following up on this, how did interviewers respond to PT, if they did at all?

BHL
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby BHL » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:02 pm

twenty wrote:
blink wrote:Goals: JAG/USAO
Ties: Ohio
Schools: Lower T-14 sticker, Vandy WashU OSU (no word on $$$), UCLA Minnesota (30k/yr scholarships)
Other info: no spouse, will need to loan COA.


Not an attorney, but you should probably seriously reconsider your goals or else retake and aim higher. Most AUSA offices have a de facto requirement of a federal clerkship now. One spot will get, like, 300 applications, and being a JAG officer is not going to make you stand out. Furthermore, JAG is very difficult to get (even if you are gunning for it) to the point where selection is almost arbitrary.

If you really want AUSA, your best bet is to lateral in after a few years in DOJ Honors.

AUSA is very possible post-JAG. I did JAG and managed to land several AUSA interviews. Now, JAGs are less likely to get interviews for the USAO in the EDNY or SDNY, but those are probably some of the most competitive districts around. AUSA is very doable if you're applying to military friendly districts and open to living anywhere. This will get your foot in the AUSA door. Then, just do your time and transfer when there's an opening where you want to move. Also, keep in mind that some districts have better hours than others. Oddly enough, the less desirable districts tend to have better hours (830/9 to 6/630).

The problem with JAG (depending on service) is that you may not get the litigation experience necessary to make you competitive. A lot of people join JAG to litigate, yet timing and base location are huge factors on if you get much trial experience. The same is true for other niches like federal procurement law and labor law, which open up civilian federal jobs post-JAG.

The real question post-JAG is whether AUSA is your best opportunity. If you love litigation, AUSA is probably the best job you can land. However, plenty of cushy federal jobs are available post-JAG that may be more appealing. Federal procurement can be very interesting, very reasonable hours, and can land you an in-house job with a federal contractor (Boeing, Lockheed, etc.) if you decide biggovt isn't for you.

bkraut1
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby bkraut1 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:22 pm

Goals: BigLaw
Ties: NJ, NY
Schools: WUSL (full scholarship, COL only), Vandy (90-100k inc. COL), UCLA (90-100k inc. COL), UT (not sure yet)
Other Info: K-JD applicant, prefer to work in Chicago, NYC or LA post graduation, single, ~30k UG Debt

nouseforaname123
Posts: 336
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:32 pm

Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:22 pm

thisiswater wrote:Following up on this, how did interviewers respond to PT, if they did at all?


Nonissue for 90% of employers. I strongly suspect for the other 10%, they weren't interested in hiring out of the PT program (for whatever reason).

El Principe
Posts: 551
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby El Principe » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:34 am

Idk if this is still active, but here goes.

Goals: I want to end up either in-house at a corporation or working for the Federal Government, however, I know both of these aren't likely w/o law firm experience, so immediate goals are clearly BigLaw -> Lateral.
Ties: TX
Schools: UT (COA: 100K)
Other Info: K-JD applicant, graduated early so will have at least 6 months or so of semi-decent WE before LS, don't make enough money currently to sustain myself (would have to live with parents or get a promotion if I sat out a cycle, at least temporarily).

I've been getting cold feet recently because the thought of 100K of loans scares me, and although I know Texas COL is low, paying those off is still contingent on being in the top 40-50% and getting a big-law job... and that's what's stressing me. However, the thought of working for a year scares me even more.

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blink
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby blink » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:55 pm

Posted this several pages back but now I'm all done hearing from schools:

blink wrote:
Goals: JAG => USAO
Ties: Ohio
Schools: Duke (48k), Georgetown (sticker), Vandy (80k), UCLA (90k) WashU (81k)
Other info: no spouse, will need to loan COA. Splitter, LSAT > all medians outside the T6. WL'd at Columbia, Penn, Northwestern, Michigan, Virginia, Cornell.

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Attax
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Re: ITT: Practicing attorneys tell you your top choice is bad

Postby Attax » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:00 pm

Gonna hop on this thread now that I've deposited only one place:

Goals: Patent Lit biglaw in Texas, but wouldn't mind midlaw. Small law may kill me though.

Ties: Texas

School(s) - COA over 3 years:
Texas - $18k


Other info: No spouse, will use loans for the $18k. Held at NU and would probably be paying near sticker to attend there. I am not strongly minded to stay in Texas my entire life, but I have ties here and particularly in patent work, it is my cheapest option and the best school I've been admitted to, but I only have a BS in Chemistry.




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